I have lived a life aimed at making
The Big Statement.
Handcuffed to a lust for spectacle,
I have always swung for the fence.
Out there is where the crowds are, after all.
Out there is the World Beyond, waiting to see someone
touch every base. They worship
at the throne of Babe Ruth, who said once
when asked if he could have hit .400 for a career average
if he hadn’t tried to hit so many home runs: “.400? Hell, kid,
I could have hit .500.”
We’d still have known his name, of course,
but it would have had so much more dust on it, layers building through time,
brushed off only when some fan, some hardcore fan,
came hunting for the name of the guy who was consistent, made it work
one base at a time, moving others ahead. Most of us would have forgotten him
in the day to day, preferring to honor the home run kings
who shot themselves out there with every torn off cover,
every leathery poem whose distorted round made the watchers
shout, “Yeah! Look at that mother fly…”
I’ll never be that guy. No matter how I change my swing,
I miss far more than I hit.
I’ll never be the one whose name sits on every set of lips,
no icon for the masses to stare at and whisper about,
my appetites the stuff of legend, my face
a whetstone for the sharpening of ambitions, my name itself
a charm to urge the fast and ready. I’m ready to say it and mean it:
give up the fence for the sacrifice and things will fall
the right way more often than not, if not for me, then for someone else.
Those crowds will never call me out, but the game will go on,
a better game for my having played it.